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Am I being a jerk? Or is this a dangerous situation? [Off leash dogs]

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  • Am I being a jerk? Or is this a dangerous situation? [Off leash dogs]

    So this just happened.

    I am trying to run sprints + distance in the mornings (to outrun the fork). There is a park near home. Has trails, paths + a playground (fenced) and a synthetic turf field (fenced).

    I run laps on the turf field + sprints when I reach the right back corner (100 or so long sprint, then keep joging for a total of around 3 miles at geriatric speed)

    There is a sign that says: "per order of the parks and recreation commission. Dogs must be leashed and are only allowed on the walking paths and natural grass areas. Dogs are not allowed in either the playground area or on the synthetic turf field."

    I ran on the field last spring and out of seemingly nowhere a big (at least 50 pound) german shepard ran onto synthetic field and chased me growling and snarling as I sprinted. I immediately stopped, the dog stopped (not a seemingly mean dog, but big and interested in me running) and I yelled at the owner and asked if he had read the sign on the fence to the field. He replied: "I read the sign......relax.......he won't hurt you.........I am here every morning......blah blah" I said listen man a dog in a park needs to be on a leash and you need to keep him off this field.

    Fast forward a few months later. Same owner, same dog. I run on the field. guy walks this big dog (with the group of dogs, often no leash, often on the field). I try to avoid them. Run on other side back and forth until they are past the area close to the field etc. etc. Still annoyed about no leash so I take a picture of the sign. (attached)

    Then just now happens: (about 20 min ago). Same owner same dog. Out of seemingly nowhere the big dog snarling and growling at my heal as I was sprinting. I stop. Dog stops. Luckily no bite.

    Dog was on field. No leash.

    I lose it. After dog is back at guys side I yell at him. Not very nicely. I open my phone and (with a mask on) I jog over to him and read the sign on the fence to him. I say:

    Here is what the sign on the fence says: "per order of the parks and recreation commission. Dogs must be leashed and are only allowed on the walking paths and natural grass areas. Dogs are not allowed in either the playground area or on the synthetic turf field."

    I also yell at his crew of dog walkers who say: "why do you want to ruin our morning" I say: "ruin your morning........well......good.......mission accomplished"

    I then cool off a little and I tell them, listen, I am sorry for being an A-hole that dog really scared me and he does not need to be on the field when someone is running.

    The women in the group (in a kind of screechy annoying way) yells at me: "Just leave us alone"

    So I finish my run (with a little extra energy, by the way, 4 miles total) and I think. Hmmmmmmmm what just happened.

    Was I too big of an A-hole or did i do the right thing?

    I think reading him the sign was reasonable and I never physically threatened the dude. I even told him: "listen, I have two dogs at home, I love dogs, but man your dog scared the [email protected]#$ out of me"

    I don't work in the ER but how likely is a giant german shepard (who now knows I hate his owner, dog was not happy when I yelled at pops) to bite?

    So the questions for you fine reader is: Am I being a jerk? Or is this a dangerous situation?

    Next time I film the dog on the field, and call parks are recreation.
    Last edited by Tangler; 12-04-2020, 07:34 AM. Reason: same owner same dog added for clarification.

  • #2


    • #3
      nope. not a jerk. those people are the worst.

      can only hope one day theres a cop who will give them a citation.

      just dont get shot by karen.


      • #4
        No, you are not being a jerk or being unreasonable.

        The dog owners should be following the rules. I would make a calm and concise complaint (with pictures) to the city/county office that runs the park.

        Years ago, a good friend and her kids were at a park playground when an unleashed dog bit her toddler on the leg. It turned out OK, but I wonder what would have happened if it had been the face. There are reasons for places to have dogs on leashes.

        Continue to be calm and pleasant.


        • #5
          Not a Jerk, agree with your opinion.

          I actually have a GSD. We have a large tract of protected meadow land behind our house with a trail that we walk with our dog almost every day. There is a sign requiring dogs to be leashed. I always considered our GSD well trained, never walked with a leash. Never had a problem for a long time, until one day, a mountain biker was on the trail and my dog decided to happily chase him. He freaked out and was trying to ride and kick my dog at the same time while my dog thought this was the funniest thing ever!

          Long story short, I learned later this guy had been bitten by a dog before and was traumatized. I felt so horrible and consider it lucky that at the end, there were just some mean words said and no one hurt. We never walk our dog there without a leash again.


          • #6
            Well, you were in the right, but there have very few social conflicts of this nature resolved by reading the rules to the violators in a loud angry tone. They know the rules. They don’t care. That said, I also think you were entitled to express your concerns firmly, so no I would not say you were being an A hole. Unfortunately there are not many good options here for you. They won’t stop just because you ask, or point out the rules. You should not feel like you need to run elsewhere. Maybe adjust your schedule? Report the violations to animal control? If a situation arises again, let them know that if the dog actually attacks you will take action? Carry bear repellant and spray the dog? Honestly, I’d probably just keep running there when it was convenient but realize the dogs might be out.


            • #7
              Not a jerk. Next time take pic of the people and dogs if you can do so without being confrontational and call animal control.

              Some people are terrified of dogs and whether the situation is objectively dangerous or not the rules are in place for a reason.


              • #8
                I would get bear repellant and spray the people. It’s not the dog’s fault it’s owner is a jerk.


                • #9

                  I lost track if it the same owner each time. Although my first reaction would be to carry (and use), the more reasonable action would be to call police and animal control. But as I've mentioned on this forum before, I waste a lot of time on issues that I shouldn't.


                  • #10
                    I am a multiple dog owner and my wife is a long time volunteer at a few dog rescue shelters.
                    Those type of dog owners (who keep their dogs off leash in public) never acknowledge that they are putting others at risk and give all dog owners a bad rap.
                    You were not a jerk. You are entitled to express your opinion, and to even point out a posted regulation, but as Larry Ragman said, they are likely not going to change their behavior just because of your actions.
                    I don't know for sure, but maybe if you report to animal control that recurrent violations are occurring each morning on most days, they might investigate and take action. Word gets around in the dog owner community, and one citation may lead to a change in behavior of many.


                    • #11
                      I run often with my dog, I keep the dog on a leash. Two times over the last few years , had attacks , one from a St. Bernard and another from a pit bull. One required surgery on our golden. Had to go through legal channels to rectify the situation. Now I run with pepper spay. I have a carry permit for my gun , but that kind of ways me down a little too much.


                      • #12
                        Even if a dog is friendly they still need to be leashed in places like this.

                        I was running in a park last year and a very friendly large unleashed dog came barreling at me. I dodged to avoid him and he hit right at knee level but I had moved out of the way enough that it was just bruised. If I hadn’t he could have taken my knee out. It’s impossible to get any sort of decent speed work in if there are unleashed dogs running around.


                        • #13
                          Are they wrong? Yep. Will they acknowledge them in the wrong? Nope. Same for those not following physical distancing rules anywhere. 'if you have a problem, stay home' attitude. Happens even at Disneyworld, the happiest place on earth.

                          You'll get compliance to rules and a friendly conservation sooner from a tricked out Honda Civic driver to not speed or play loud music in residential area.

                          SD has a huge dog loving population. Dedicated dog parks every 3 miles. Yet, plenty of dog groups using regular parks and go off-leash. Most are respectful of joggers and especially of little children and leash their dogs if they come into the park.

                          However, some do not -- and that's where the confrontation occurs. Nextdoor has plenty of these examples almost monthly and nothing gets resolved but angry words thrown at each other.

                          The only real solution is to call animal control to have them come by at the specific time for enforcement. The group will move. Repeat as indicated when they return.


                          • #14
                            You must live where I live. Jesting of course as this issue is ubiquitous. (Is unpicked bags of dog poop a problem in your area?). Cities wanting tax revenue should hire law enforcement units to fine violators. If there were a uberlike private company creating cell phone features for citizens to real time report off leash violations and it ipo’d, I’d buy stock.


                            • #15
                              Not a jerk. If they are there at the same time every morning warn them you plan to notify animal control/police to come by. Tell them first so they have a chance to change their behaviors.

                              My dog trainer trains us at a dog park sometimes. When we're outside the park (outside the off leash area) she will angrily stop any off leash dog owner and show and threaten to tase their dog if they don't put them on the leash. She means business. She's maybe kind of an A hole about it but doesn't care.

                              So that's another option, give them info about the nearest off leash dog park.